I have a piece of advice for all pharmacists and technicians that may be difficult to follow. Please, just go home.
I’ve worked with many pharmacists and technicians over the years. The vast majority of them have been hard working and dedicated employees. They care about their job and they care about the people they serve. In fact, they might care a little too much.
How many of you have stayed late or come in early to get work done? It can seem like we are all playing an endless game of catch up. And there is a tendency by many to simply put in extra time off the clock to help keep things calm.
The problem with staying late or coming in early is that it becomes a habit. Before you know it, you are working 45-50 hours or more per week. And as far as your employer knows, everything is fine. Your numbers look good. And to them, that is how community pharmacy is summed. Numbers on pages or email attachments define pharmacy for the big employers.
I’ve stayed well past the end of my shift to help coworkers get through busy times. I’ve stayed well past closing time to “catch up” and get things as calm as possible for whomever is showing up the next morning to work. I don’t like to leave messes, even for myself.
But working extra becomes a bad habit that is hard to break. And dedication to your patients aside, your employer simply doesn’t care that you do all of this extra work.
Putting in all of this extra time can contribute to severe burnout. Our work is physically and mentally exhausting enough without adding extra burdens. It’s just not worth it.
I think in many cases large community pharmacy chains punish those who go the extra mile. It’s as if we are treated worse for taking it upon ourselves to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This leads to further hour cuts and extra responsibilities that simply push us beyond our limits.
We’d benefit from a policy of doing what we can for our shift and trusting that our coworkers can handle the rest. And that means going home when you are supposed to and leaving those extra prescriptions to be finished by someone else. It also means working hard to catch up workflow so others can leave on time.
I can think of pharmacists I work with now who you practically have to push out the door at the end of their shift. I’ve yelled out “go home” to a few of them on more than one occasion. They will stay well past their scheduled time even when they have families at home and other commitments.
I’ve learned that I can only do what I can and that has to be enough. Pushing myself needlessly beyond my limits only hurts myself.
Our profession has become so hectic that it encourages pharmacists and technicians to go the extra ten miles. But where does all that extra dedication end? When is enough finally enough?
We’ve got to learn to accept our limitations instead of constantly pushing limits higher. We need to trust others and know that they can handle doing whatever work we thought was important enough to stay to complete.
So please, I’m telling you one little piece of advice that will help you have a longer and happier career. When it’s time for you to go, just go home. It’s that simple!
The Redheaded Pharmacist